I guess all of us have a very strong sense of self. We know who we are, what we like and what we believe in. We find it extremely worrying to think that companies can use algorithms to analyse what we believe in, feel and like just from how we shop and interact on the internet. That is an insult.
They claim that they know us better than we do.
That makes us angry. We don’t like to think of ourselves as being so simple and transparent. We are more than a set of algorithms.
It makes us even madder when it becomes apparent that they might be right.
Neuropsychologists have been investigating brains and the concept of self.
The good news is that it exists. We do have a ‘self’.
The bad news is that it is a construct that is built from our experiences and interactions with others. We do not possess an intrinsic ‘self’.
Our sense of self is constructed from interacting with families, friends, relatives, strangers and culture – it comes out of our experiences – nothing more.
Basically we are networks of neurones and our self and our choices are just created out of the pathways we have created. It’s no wonder that algorithms can be used so successfully to analyse us and manipulate us. Soon our computer will be able to vote for us without having to even consult us! How long is it before our ‘self’ will be reduced to a digital code that could exist as a consciousness within our computers? We could live forever without pain, illness or fears (apart from fear of a power cut).
I find that a bit chilling.
We don’t exist! We really have no self, do we?
What do you think?